Match Making

Reporter: Marguerite McKinnon

The latest research says that Australian women are less likely than ever before to get married. Popular series like Sex and the City made it fashionable to be free and independent but the decline in marriage doesn't mean singles don't want to find love, in fact it's the opposite - the dating industry is now worth more than $150 million.

We asked Australia's best matchmakers to tell us what to when you find a potential perfect match. First dates are always a bit nerve racking. "It's a unique environment where you need to actually have a controlled release of information where you are judged on everything you say and do" says Trudy. We must be doing something wrong because statistics say happily ever after is more unlikely than ever before. Single women now out-number married women for the first time since World War One.

Trudy Gilbert, Director of Elite Introductions says "To be honest it doesn't surprise me that women are choosing to stay single... it's really only when they find someone who can compliment their lives, be an equal that they're ready to give up that single life." Both sexes are choosing to stay single for longer. In the last 20 years the median age to get married has risen dramatically. The average age for a bride has risen from 24 to 30. Men are also side-stepping the aisle, grooms used to marry at 26, now it's 32.

The good news - with all these unmarried people running around the dating culture has exploded. "It's a numbers game at the end of the day, the more people you approach the more likely you are to win the heart of someone." Dating coach Sean Grobellaar, yes they do exist, from "Get Hitched" coaches men and women about the laws of attraction. "My suggestion to all people out there when you first meet someone and want to go out with them don't ask them out on "a date" it's about going would you like to go out for coffee, would you like to try the new pub."

Keep in mind this advice is not just for twenty-somethings, single parents and divorcees are fair game. "Single parents think they have too many responsibilities or not enough opportunities to attract other people, I think that's rubbish - they need to take active steps to meet people" adds Sean. Ok so you've made the call, follow closely for the next steps. "It's so important that a man has a plan" says Trudy.

"A man should constantly lead a woman and take control, there is nothing more unattractive than a man going what would you like for dinner, where would you like to go" says Sean. "I think it's good to wear something with a feminine quality." First impressions are everything - we asked Jessica Berg, image consultant for Elite Introductions, to tell us how to dress for success. "Women should definitely stay away from anything too loud or a pattern or print and too loud a colour." Looking feminine is important but nothing over the top. "Another big one for me is keep make up simple, men don't like lots of make up" adds Jessica. "I think the best outfit for a man would be jeans, preferably dark jeans with a button down shirt." Wear deodorant not disinfectant.

"Men can go too overboard in the after shave department - you don't want to smell like you bathed in it!" says Jessica.

"Chivalry is so important and not dead at all" says Sean.

The gentleman card is still winner. "Pouring the wine, walking too the taxi, complementing her on the way she looks" says Trudy."On a first date if you ask a woman out I believe you should pay" adds Sean. So many things to remember, let alone what to talk about and what not to talk about. "Some key mistakes men can make is they don't ask enough questions and end up talking too much about themselves" says Trudy. "On the first date remember it's not an opportunity to run an interview... don't do the twenty questions game" adds Sean."Sometimes things that women can get wrong are asking too many personal questions about a man's wealth or assets" says Trudy.

Here is a break down of the Do's Don'ts from our panel:

For Men - do act interested and ask questions, do have a plan including where to go after dinner (your place doesn't count), do be a gentleman and do follow up with a call if things went well.

First dates are a little easier for women, they should look and act feminine, go easy on the make up, maintain a bit of mystery, also remain open minded.

  • § The Dating Don'ts are communal:
  • § Don't talk about yourself too much
  • § Don't ask about money or assets
  • § Don't talk about your ex
  • § And never ever answer your mobile phone unless the date is so bad you need to hit eject immediately.

So that's the first date survival kit - but what happens after that? "I have been told by hundreds of men that men like a challenge, men like to pursue a woman if he's interested and basically if he's not calling he is not interested" says Trudy. Apparently the old cliche "treat them mean and keep them keen" still works, in fact most of the old rules still work. "It comes down to you just being who you are, adding humour, being playful and enjoying the night" adds Sean.

Sean Grobellaar


Trudy Gilbert